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Mood- and restraint-based antecedents to binge episodes in bulimia nervosa: possible influences of the serotonin system

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 August 2005

HOWARD STEIGER
Affiliation:
Eating Disorders Program, Douglas Hospital, Montreal, Quebec Research Centre, Douglas Hospital, Montreal, Quebec Psychiatry Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec Psychology Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
LISE GAUVIN
Affiliation:
Research Centre, Douglas Hospital, Montreal, Quebec Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, GRIS (Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire en santé – Interdisciplinary Research Group on Health), University of Montreal & The Léa-Roback Research Center on Social Inequalities of Health in Montreal, ND, USA
MARLA J. ENGELBERG
Affiliation:
Psychology Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
N. M. K. NG YING KIN
Affiliation:
Research Centre, Douglas Hospital, Montreal, Quebec Psychiatry Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
MIMI ISRAEL
Affiliation:
Eating Disorders Program, Douglas Hospital, Montreal, Quebec Research Centre, Douglas Hospital, Montreal, Quebec Psychiatry Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
STEPHEN A. WONDERLICH
Affiliation:
Department of Neuroscience, University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences, ND, USA
JODIE RICHARDSON
Affiliation:
Eating Disorders Program, Douglas Hospital, Montreal, Quebec Research Centre, Douglas Hospital, Montreal, Quebec Psychology Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec

Abstract

Background. In bulimic syndromes, binge episodes are thought to be caused by dietary restraint and negative moods. However, as central serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine: 5-HT) mechanisms regulate appetite and mood, the 5-HT system could be implicated in diet- and mood-based binge antecedents.

Method. We used hand-held computers to obtain repeated ‘online’ measurements of eating behaviors, moods, and self-concepts in 21 women with bulimic syndromes, and modeled 5-HT system activity with a measure of platelet [3H]paroxetine-binding density.

Results. Mood and self-concept ratings were found to be worse before binge episodes (than at other moments), and cognitive restraint was increased. After binges, mood and self-concept deteriorated further, and thoughts of dieting became more intense. Intriguingly, lower paroxetine-binding density predicted poorer mood and self-concept before a binge, larger post-binge decrements in mood and self-concept, and larger post-binge increases in dietary restraint.

Conclusions. Paroxetine binding thus seemed to reflect processes that impacted upon mood-related antecedents to binge episodes, and consequences implicating mood and dietary restraint.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
2005 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

Preliminary results from this study were presented at the annual Academy for Eating Disorders International Conference on Eating Disorders, Orlando, Florida, 2 May 2004.